A domain name registrar is an organization or commercial entity that manages the reservation of Internet domain names. A domain name registrar must be accredited by a generic top-level domain registry and/or a country code top-level domain registry. The management is done in accordance with the guidelines of the designated domain name registries and to offer such services to the public.
Until 1999, Network Solutions Inc. (NSI) operated the com, net, and org registries. In addition to the function of domain name registry operator, it was also the sole registrar for these domains. However, several companies had developed independent registrar services. In 1996 one such company, NetNames, developed the concept of a standalone commercial domain name registration service which would sell domain registration and other associated services to the public. This effectively created the retail model into the industry and assigning a wholesale role to the registries. NSI assimilated this model, which ultimately led to the separation of registry and registrar functions.
In 1997, PGMedia filed an anti-trust suit against NSI citing the ROOT zone as an essential facility, and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) was enjoined to this action. Ultimately, NSI was granted immunity from anti-trust litigation, but the litigation created enough pressure to restructure the domain name market.
In October 1998, following pressure from the growing domain name registration business and other interested parties, NSI’s agreement with the United States Department of Commerce was amended. This amendment required the creation of a shared registration system that supported multiple registrars. This system officially commenced service on November 30, 1999 under the supervision of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), although there had been several testbed registrars using the system since March 11, 1999. Since then, over 900 registrars have entered the market for domain name registration services.
Of the registrars who initially entered the market, many have continued to grow and outpace rivals. Go Daddy is the largest registrar. Other successful registrars include eNom, Tucows, Melbourne IT. Registrars who initially led the market but later were surpassed by rivals include Network Solutions and Dotster.
Each ICANN-accredited registrar must pay a fixed fee of US$4,000 plus a variable fee. The sum of variable registrar fees is intended to total US$3.8 million. The competition created by the shared registration system enables end users to choose from many registrars offering a range of related services at varying prices.
Domain registration information is maintained by the domain name registries, which contract with domain registrars to provide registration services to the public. An end user selects a registrar to provide the registration service, and that registrar becomes the designated registrar for the domain chosen by the user.
Only the designated registrar may modify or delete information about domain names in a central registry database. It is not unusual for an end user to switch registrars, invoking a domain transfer process between the registrars involved, that is governed by specific domain name transfer policies.
When a registrar registers a com domain name for an end-user, it must pay a maximum annual fee of US$7.85 to VeriSign, the registry operator for com, and a US$0.18 annual administration fee to ICANN. Most Domain Registrars price their services and products to address both the annual fees and the administration fees that must be paid to ICANN. Barriers to entry into the bulk registrar industry are high for new companies without an existing customer base.
Many registrars also offer registration through reseller affiliates. An end-user registers either directly with a registrar, or indirectly through one or more layers of resellers. As of 2010, the retail cost generally ranges
Original article available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_name_registrar
Duration : 0:12:16
Read the rest of this entry »